Purplebricks founder Michael Bruce has been replaced as CEO and left the company.

COO Vic Darvey, a former managing director of Moneysupermarket.com who only joined the company in January, has taken over the role from Bruce, who founded the online estate agent with his brother Kenny in 2012.

Shares in Purplebricks crashed 35 per cent following the announcement, wiping £150m off the company’s value.

The firm is also pulling out of Australia while it will review its business in the United States.

More than £150 million was also wiped off the company's value in February after the disrupter scaled back its revenue targets owing to underperforming business in its key international markets.

However it plans to maintain its dominant market positions in the UK and Canada.

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“With hindsight, our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid and as a result the quality of execution has suffered,” non-executive chairman Paul Pindar said in a statement.

“We have also made sub-optimal decisions in allocating capital. We will learn from these errors and will not make them again.

“We are very conscious that the group’s performance has been disappointing over the last 12 months and we sincerely apologise to shareholders for that.”

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Purplebricks entered the Australian market two and a half years ago but said the prospective returns there were "not sufficient to justify continued investment".

The company’s statement continued: "Whilst the UK property market remains challenging, the company continues to outperform the market and the board remains confident about the future of the business.

"Having established a market-leading position, there remain many opportunities for further profitable growth and this will be a key area of focus going forward."

Pindar said of Bruce’s departure: "Michael's vision in creating the UK's leading hybrid estate agent has been deeply impressive, as has his relentless energy in developing the business both in the UK and internationally."

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